I Samuel 28 A Conflict Of Revelations.

I Samuel 28 A Conflict Of Revelations.

What would David do now that his Philistine neighbours were set upon attacking Israel? Notice that when king Achish says to David that he will fight for him against Israel, that David does not say ‘Yes’, rather he said, “Surely you know what your servant can do.” (v. 2a) No, Achish did not say, “Don’t call me Shirley.” Instead he accepted David’s answer as a ‘Yes’ (v. 2b). Meanwhile, in Israel, with the death of Samuel, and the fact that Saul had ordered the expulsion of all mediums and spiritists, that Saul was left without any counsel concerning the possible future that awaited him. There were three ways which God might have revealed the truth to Saul and others, other than the word already given, which were by “dreams or by Urim or by prophets” (v. 6).

David had the prophet Gad, as well as Abiathar the only priest to survive Saul’s massacre, who wore the ephod which contained the Urim and the Thummim (23:6). It is the same ephod which Samuel had with him (2:8), with which the latter was also used to determine the will of the LORD, according to the law, contained as it was in the breatplate (Ex. 28:4-30; Lev. 8:8). The Urim and Thummim was to remain with the one whom the LORD had set apart (Dt. 33:8). These words literally mean “Lights and the Perfections” (NGSB. 163). Only the lights of the LORD’s revelation could achieve perfect knowledge of the truth, and it would only be given to those set apart for this purpose. It was another means of guidance until a fuller canonical revelation was given.

Saul, bereft of any divine guidance, and this by his own designs, was desperate for insight as to the future that awaited him. However, as the king he should have known the canonical law-word of the covenant, and it is this very law which he decided to break in order to seek out a medium or spiritist. A medium, being one to act as a channel between the living and the dead, was the avenue which he chose, when his servants informed him of the existence of the witch in En Dor. This was a border town, and a place that Saul had to enter like a spy as he had to sneak past the Philistines to get to her. The irony is that if he had of been faithful to the word already given, he would have latched unto the promise given by the LORD to drive these enemies out of his land.

The witch, much to her own horror, was able to bring up Samuel, at Saul’s request, so that Samuel ends up further testifying against Saul, but with the exact same testimony he had given when he still walked the earth – the kingdom would be taken from Saul and given to David. Saul is sick, but only for himself. At the behest of his servants, he even agrees to break bread with the witch. However, he is told that he and his sons would go to the same place as Samuel, the place for the dead, and that the army of Israel would be delivered into the hand of the Philistines, minus David and his men, who were the remnant preserved. Saul rejected the revelation, and in his rebellion also the means thereof, which the LORD had given, and in the end he heeded the word of a witch.

I Samuel 27 The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Useful.

I Samuel 27 The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Useful.

It is ironic that David felt he had to flee to Gath, home of Goliath, in order to escape the wrath of the king of Israel whom he had defended along with the nation. Achish, the king of Gath, actually grants David some territory at Ziklag, thinking that David was on the outs with Saul so was looking for a friendly neighbour. David fooled Achish into thinking he was defending him, all the while he was fighting the LORD’s battles for his people. David got wise though, he would not be allowing any witnesses to return to Achish, so “David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath” (v. 11).

I Samuel 26 David, Saul, And Providence – Again.

I Samuel 26 David, Saul, And Providence – Again.

For whatever reason, David decided that he would spy out the camp of Saul. Abishai should be commended for volunteering to go with him, but David had to even keep him from killing Saul. David continued to respect the official office that Saul occupied, if not the occupant of it. David was convinced that the LORD would take care of Saul, either directly or indirectly through providence (v. 10). David was able to prove once again that he had the opportunity to kill Saul but he didn’t – Saul once again had to acknowledge this. David pinned the blame where it belonged – Abner was supposed to guard the king and he failed. David essentially said that if the LORD had raised up Saul to pursue David then David would acquiesce in the LORD’s mercy, but if it came strictly from human motivation then “may they be cursed before the LORD,” because contrary to David’s wish, and due to no fault of his own, he had been excommunicated from the covenant community (v. 19).

David referred to himself as a flee, a nobody. So why were they pursuing a nobody? Only with this confession of humility on David’s part does Saul confess that he has sinned. So only when David assures him that he had no intention of assassinating him does he repent. However, what Saul meant is best understood by what follows, not that he was guilty of breaking God’s law by seeking to murder an innocent man, but that David outplayed him. “Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” (v. 21) David knew that his confession was just one of regret at being outplayed, so instead of going to Saul he instructs Saul to send a young man to come retrieve his spear (v. 22). Again we see David’s underlying conviction in the sovereign justice of Yahweh. “May the LORD repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness” (v. 23). The LORD had delivered Saul into David’s hand, but David committed himself to the LORD to deliver him out of tribulation, and Saul’s own words witness to his belief that David would ultimately prevail (vv. 24-25).

I Samuel 25:43-44 The Dawn Of David’s Polygamy.

I Samuel 25:43-44 The Dawn Of David’s Polygamy.

Couched in the history of Saul and David are some significant developments such as we find here. After a long passage extolling the virtues of Abigail, and David’s subsequent marriage to her after Nabal died, we find this comment, that “David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives.” (v. 43) Sadly, the first instance we have of someone breaking the creation covenant norm of one man and one woman was the wicked member of the ungodly seed – Lamech, the direct descendant of Cain who murdered his brother Abel – the godly seed (Gen. 4:19). It seems to come as some kind of rational that the reason David took a second then a third wife was because “Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.” (v. 44).

I Samuel 25:1-42 David, Nabal, And Abigail.

I Samuel 25:1-42 David, Nabal, And Abigail.

The people lamented for Samuel upon his death, the man they refused to heed when he was living. As David travelled he rightfully assumed to be treated well by Nabal, since his own servants testified to how David had protected them, and were basically model neighbours. Instead, Nabal was arrogant, a man who no doubt gained and maintained his wealth because he ingratiated himself to Saul. Abigail, his wife, had more sense than he did. She was a woman of faith who confessed the LORD’s selection of David as his true anointed.

Abigail sent to David and his men interim provisions, a small payment for how they treated and protected her husband’s servants. Furthermore, she followed after to also plead for mercy despite her husband, whose name means rightly meant ‘fool’. She, like David, left vengeance to the LORD. All she did was bear true witness to her husband, and this was enough for him to go into a coma and die. David ended up marrying Abigail, now a widow, and thanked God that through her he was prevented from dropping to his and Saul’s level.

I Samuel 23 Providence, Prayer, And The Word.

I Samuel 23 Providence, Prayer, And The Word.

Even while David was in exile, he was serving the LORD and King Saul in seeking the LORD in prayer as to whether he should take the battle to the Philistines who were fighting against Keilah. However, Saul presumed upon God’s providence in believing that David’s presence in Keilah was the LORD delivering him into his hand. Throughout this conflict between David and Saul we see to important truths converging. David and Saul both believed in God’s sovereign control of history, and that the LORD often in his good providence acts on behalf of his people. However, David still prayed. The mere occurrence of certain events and circumstances was not enough for David, he wanted the LORD’s interpretation of the events, whereas Saul presumed and read into these events what he wanted to see and ascribed this interpretation to God.

Not only did David pray, but he also sought out the minister of the word and sacrament in Abiathar the priest, the only one to survive the earlier massacre of Saul, and one who because he wore the linen ephod covenantally represented the entire nation before the LORD. David looked beyond himself. Sometimes we cannot even trust our own prayers. We often need godly counsel from those who know the word in order to have the wisdom we need to make tough decisions. Canada’s founding fathers sought such wisdom, but our history since is littered, like much of the western world, with humanistic narcissists who pride themselves on their own conception of our destiny. The people of Keilah are all too common in history – they rejected the LORD who had rescued them for the supposed long term security of statists like Saul.

I Samuel 24 Saul Caught With His Pants Down.

I Samuel 24 Saul Caught With His Pants Down.

Saul is in pursuit of David to murder him and he walks into the very cave where David and his men were hiding. While Saul was taking a crap David cuts off a corner of his robe to show that if he wanted to, he could have killed Saul. In the end David left vengeance up to the LORD. “Therefore may the LORD be judge between you and me” (v. 15). David respected the office that Saul occupied but not necessarily the person in it. He knew Saul for the reprobate that he was. Saul asks David to swear that he would not cut off his descendants, but David was already in covenant with Jonathan, so even this request was narcissistic.

I Samuel 22 Collateral Damage – Saul’s Vengeance.

I Samuel 22 Collateral Damage – Saul’s Vengeance.

David had been anointed as king, but here he was hiding in a cave from Saul, along with “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented. So he became captain over them.” (v. 2). From a human standpoint, not exactly a comfortable situation. After a stay in Moab, the prophet Gad told him to go to the land of Judah, so he went to the forest of Hereth. Saul was still intent on murdering David, and of all his servants only Doeg the Edomite came forward to tell Saul where he had seen David.

Here we see the history of the ungodly seed of Edom or Esau, continuing to conspire against the godly seed of promise. When Saul discovers that Ahimelech the priest at Nob had assisted David, Saul had Doeg murder him and 84 other priests with him, when his servants refused to do so. He also massacred every living thing in the city of Nob. Abiathar, one of Ahimelech’s sons escaped, and when he told David what had happened David acknowledged that letting the Edomite go back to Saul was likely to result in at least the death of Ahimelech’s house (v. 22).

I Samuel 21 David Bears True Covenantal Witness.

I Samuel 21 David Bears True Covenantal Witness.

David is in hiding from Saul, and to this end he lies to Ahimelech the priest at Nob in telling him that he was actually on the king’s business so that he might receive some bread, and the sword he took from Goliath. It was time for the showbread to be changed anyway, which in David’s mind returned the bread to a common use. David might have thought he needed a sword since one of Saul’s servants was also in town. On his way to Achish, king of Gath, David also learned that the king supposed that he was coming against him for war, so David also deceived him in behaving like a madman. As with Rahab and Michal, there is a place for lying and deception when it in fact involves bearing true covenantal witness. Jesus justified David’s actions in this example (Mt. 12:4; Mk. 2:25-26).

I Samuel 20 The Covenant Between David And Jonathan Is Extended To Include Their Houses.

I Samuel 20 The Covenant Between David And Jonathan Is Extended To Include Their Houses.

Clearly Jonathan had a more optimistic view of his father than David did (vv. 1-2). On oath David told Jon that his father would keep the knowledge of his murderous intent from him (v. 3). To this end David had a test, to which Jon agreed to cooperate with him on. The long and short was that they confirmed that it was again the intent of Saul to murder David, to which Jon acknowledged the LORD God of the covenant as witness (vv. 4-13, 18-32, 42). Jonathan’s only condition was that David continue to show favour to his family in spite of his father (vv. 14-15). Thus the covenant between David and Jonathan now extended to the latter’s family (vv. 16-17, 42). Jon appears to have finally got the message when his own father tried to impale him with a spear (v. 33).